A couple of things have happened of late, which got me thinking about, well a lot. I know I am not alone in this, given that one of these catalyzing events involved the deaths of an entire first grade class, among others. I also heard of the death of an old friend. Someone I probably haven't seen in 15 years, and honestly, one I may have never seen again.
I don't know or understand the circumstances of my friend's death, and I don't think any of us will ever know or understand what would drive a young man to open fire in an elementary school. What I do know, is that when no one is willing to talk about why some one died 50-odd years too soon, and someone else kills a room full of children before them self, the list of potential causes narrows significantly.
For my friend, whom again, I can only speculate about and do not know the circumstances, suicide and/or overdose are possible. For the mass-shooter, it was suicide. And what do substance abuse and suicide have in common? Mental illness.
So I found myself wishing that mental illness did not carry the socialized stigma that it does, and asking others to open up such that we can learn, and invoke change. Why not break the silence and get over the socially uncomfortable truths? In theory, this sounds like a good idea, right? Well, not everyone agrees. And, of course, I can understand not wanting to publicly (or rather, facebook-ly) discuss the circumstances of the death of a dear friend.
Yet, here I find myself thinking and saying what we "should" do, without doing that very thing myself. That is, going beyond my own comfort level in order to practice what I preach. Well, here I am. Tonight I am pledging to "keep it real" and for the next 28 days, am I am going to share tidbits about my own screwy self. Things I'd rather not admit, frankly to you or I. Things I wish I could fix. Things I wish weren't me. The things of mental illness.
And if you, dear reader, feel equally saddened and puzzled by the perceptions and consequences of mental illnesses, I ask that you do the same. Comment, share, post, think, read, understand, and feel. If we all do the same, who knows, maybe we can change a few ideas, actions, tragedies...
Keeping it real:
1. I have major depressive disorder. And I probably always will. Most of the time, I am fine, but then sometimes I am not, and spending months sobbing and sleeping feels like a nightmare in a cozy sweater.
Much virtual love,
Postscript quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead